BOHEMIAN FC 1 ATHLONE TOWN 2
Athlone Town’s dream of lifting the Women’s National League ended as the destiny of the title went down to the last series of games last Saturday evening.
After some further twists and turns, Shelbourne emerged victorious, while Athlone capped a marvellous league campaign by finishing as runners up.
In one of the most exciting finishes to the league season, four teams were in contention late in the campaign. Former kingpins Peamount failed to last the pace leaving Wexford Youths, Shels and Athlone heading into the final game all with a chance of success. The Youths were at home to Shels and the winner was assured of lifting the title. Athlone knew that a draw between the top two, coupled with their beating of Bohs, would force a playoff with Shelbourne. Noel King’s charges held their nerve by winning in Ferrycarrig Park leaving Athlone’s victory in Dalymount Park immaterial other than leaving the Town finishing second.
Athlone needed a favourable result elsewhere but still had to do their business on their visit to Dublin. Bohs are always difficult to beat at home and more than matched the visitors in the early stages. The Town though soon took control with Roisin Molloy prominent on the right wing. Emily Corbet and Gillian Keenan both had chances from Molloy’s crosses. Kate Slevin was denied by the woodwork on the half hour mark and Athlone were further frustrated as the opening half ended scoreless. Needing to win to have any hope of snatching the league title, it was not going according to plan with the news coming through that Shels were ahead in Wexford.
The half time team talk from manager Tommy Hewitt had the desired effect as the Town broke the deadlock soon after the resumption of play, Keenan providing the cross and top scorer Corbett headed home. It looked like it might open the floodgates but the hosts struck back to grab an equaliser just after the hour mark as Kira Bates-Crosbie heading home at the back post.
Athlone did not panic though and were back in front again. Scarlett Herron had been introduced as a substitute midway through the half and proved to be the match winner soon after, a corner kick into the penalty area was met by the substitute who headed home.
Bohs were beaten and the Town might have scored further goals in the remaining minutes. Molloy struck the bar with Keenan sending the rebound over. Maddie Gibson was also off target. A third goal though did not arrive and was not needed as Shelbourne ran out easy winners against Wexford to retain their title.
There was some consolation for Athlone as the win lifted them into second spot. Corbett finished as second top scorer with a fine tally of 20 goals as Aine O’Gorman’s hat trick against Galway put the Peamount striker clear of the Athlone girl.
Shelbourne are now in pursuit of the double but Athlone will have something to say about that in the FAI Cup final on Sunday.